MYSTERY still surrounds what caused a former Army sergeant from Cornwall – who survived a horrific IRA bomb blast – to stab his two young children to death before taking his own life.
The bodies of Michael Pedersen, 51, who lived in Fowey before moving to Lostwithiel, Ben, 7, and Freya Pedersen, 6, were discovered in a rural lane near Andover, Hampshire on Sunday evening.
The twice married former Household Cavalry solider, who was living in Chertsey, Surrey, was a survivor of the 1982 IRA nail bomb blast in Hyde Park, London, which killed four soldiers and seven horses.
Mr Pedersen's unit was taking part in a Changing the Guard ceremony when the explosion happened.
In Lostwithiel, the community has been rocked by the tragedy which is said to have occurred while Mr Pedersen was on an arranged visit with his two children from his estranged wife Erica, whom he married in St Austell.
Mr Pedersen's mother Kathleen and brother Rob, a car mechanic, still live in Lostwithiel, but the family were unavailable to speak to the Cornish Guardian.
Mayor Gill Parsons said: "My heartfelt sympathy goes out to all the members of the family involved in this terrible tragedy."
Former mayor and town councillor Vic May added his condolences."It is very, very sad. I'm sure people here will give the family whatever support they need."
In the blast, Mr Pedersen sustained facial burns, shrapnel wounds, had a nail embedded in his hand, and a perforated ear drum.
Mr Pedersen's horse, Sefton, was seriously injured and suffered 34 separate wounds that required eight hours of surgery.
Sefton, who won the Horse of the Year a prize, became a national treasure and marked the struggle against the IRA.
It is believed Mr Pedersen and his second wife, Erica, met and later married in St Austell in 2002. It is said Mr Pedersen had been distraught by a split from his wife.
Detective Superintendent Tony Harris said Mr Pedersen had taken the children to visit his father in Andover but failed to return them at the time agreed.
A post-mortem revealed that Mr Pedersen died as a result of a number of stab wounds to the chest.
Examinations on the two children are to be held later.